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Album review: 12th live Beaner’s compilation a great sampler of local talent

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Album review: 12th live Beaner’s compilation a great sampler of local talent
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

It’s hard to believe the newest entry in the “One Week Live” series of live compilation albums from the West Duluth coffeehouse Beaner’s Central is No. 12.

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Really, it’s an ambitious idea, compiling an album from numerous performances that take place during a particular week in September and then putting out said album the following year. People would have understood if Beaner’s owner Jason Wussow had gotten tired of the concept around No. 5 and put the kibosh on future iterations. But, nope, he’s still at it, releasing a fresh CD each year that he assembles with friends using the studio underneath the Beaner’s stage.

This year’s lineup of artists is along the same lines as past comps — singer/songwriters, groovy bands, roots groups and a few rockier acts. Rather than selecting a few top choices and leaving the other tracks unmentioned, let’s run down the full list and hit each track, shall we?

Jeffery James O’Loughlin has a lot of gruff character in his voice, and his “If Jesus Was an Astronaut” comes off like a Tom Waits tune with more, uh, tune. The Roe Family Singers do a fast bluegrass number called “Jack Malone” that, thankfully, sounds like classic rather than modern stuff. The Fontanelles contribute “Downtown,” a mix of shoegaze guitar and Dr. Dog energy.

Space Carpet brings the jittery uke action on the slinky “Run.” Jason Wussow’s band Fuzzy Ellis plays the rocking “Caffeine,” which is not the Faith No More tune, but rather is a paean to the drug that built Beaner’s. (Great guitar soloing on that one, by the way). Care Bears, Care Bears, Yeah! do “Co-op,” a cheeky tune about free-range life.

Miss Stacy K brings “Nobody Knows” to the Beaner’s stage; she’s got a strong voice and a backing band that brings the smoky atmospherics well. Maddy Siiter starts her song by announcing that she’s 14 and she’s going to play one she wrote “when I was 12.” And then, suddenly, she’s singing, and her voice and songwriting are 10 years more mature than her age would suggest. Wow. It’s probably the biggest surprise on the disc.

Old Knifey sings one about boozing. The Getarounds do one that employs Dan Dresser’s Glen Hansarda-like vocals and Gaelynn Lea’s violin to good effect. Sonja and the Reckoning play the somewhat Jayhawks-y “I Know How Pain Feels.”

Markus J. Dandy and the Complete Lack Thereof’s “Mole Hills” is folky at first and then Violent Femmes at the end. Wussow’s other band Branditos’ “Corn Bread” is scuzzy and punky. Fearless Moral Inventory bring the White Stripes worship hard on “Greener.” Hometown Anthem’s “Your Voice Again” is a little trashy sounding and lo-fi, but it works for the tune. Philip of Nazareth’s epic “A Jam and a Dream” is tight rock, punky and off-kilter in spots, and almost prog-metal at the end. It’s a good final track for the collection.

Overall, the album is a great sampler of local and regional music that one may find when attending a show at Beaner’s, and it’s a great way to give people an audio snapshot of just what goes on there.

Many of these groups will play the three CD-release parties that are lined up at the venue for Friday, Saturday and April 25. Every attendee gets a free copy of the disc. Check out beanerscentral.com for more info on lineups.

Tony Bennett can be reached at tonybennettreviews@gmail.com.

“One Week Live, Vol. 12”

Various artists

Recorded at: Beaner’s Central, West Duluth

Produced by: Jason Wussow with John Craig, Dan Dresser and Mike Guello

Website: beanerscentral.com

Upcoming shows: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Beaner’s Central, 324 N. Central Ave.

Tickets: $6 at the door (CD included)

Sample: Listen to “A Jam and a Dream” by Philip of Nazareth

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